Saturday, June 5, 2010

Columnist Tells Louisiana to Look in the Mirror

Going over round-ups I've missed on the oil spill at the New Orleans Ladder, I came across a link to this opinion piece by retired state official now columnist Jim Brown as posted at Slabbed. Brown's piece is informative and balanced, making the point that Louisiana residents and politicians have to look in the mirror regarding its love affair with big oil.
Yes, there is plenty of blame to go around. But maybe it goes beyond just the feds, the Louisiana congressional delegation, and other public officials. The state as a whole just might want to take a look in the mirror. Louisiana was seduced by an outside industry full of vast economic promises. The money came in easily and there can be no dispute that many new jobs were created. But when you put the financial tally to paper, has it been worth it?

A number of Louisiana politicians, including Gov. Huey Long in the 1930s and Plaquemines Parish dictator Leander Perez in the 1950s, made off like bandits by creating family controlled corporations and awarding themselves public oil leases that made them hundreds of millions of dollars. Oil company campaign cash has flowed into state and local political campaigns for decades.
He entitles the piece, which is also at his personal blog, "Did Louisiana Make a Deal With the Devil Over Oil?" It's a question for the whole nation, have we made a bad deal? Isn't it time to give the search for alternative sources of energy more than lipservice?

I haven't read enough of Brown's other opinions to know how I'd line up with him otherwise, but on this point we agree. Louisiana needs to look at itself. Greed has limited our vision when it comes to the oil industry's impact on the environment and the toll it may take on our lives beyond the benefit of putting food on tables and gas in cars.

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